The Rise (and Fall) of Twitter

Old school Twitter fail whale

And other social media platforms, for organizational use.

Thanks to the efforts of my web firm, the Spark blog has posts that go back to 2008, when I first started association blogging at Thanks For Playing. Over the past six months or so, I’ve been reviewing ALL of them, deleting posts that are badly outdated (which led to the removal of 100 posts, about 43% of the total) and identifying posts that might benefit from updating and reposting, which I’ve been doing over the last several weeks.

I recently came upon a series of posts about Twitter from the fall of 2009, starting with Forget the “How” – Worry about the “Why”, reminding readers that if you don’t know why you’re doing something, any amount of effort required for the how is too much.

I then ran a series of posts sharing answers to the why for Twitter, focused on:

  • Advocacy – shout out to Speak Now for Kids
  • Conferences
  • Chat – shout out to #assnchat, still going strong (although the platform on which it is going strong has shifted MANY times over the years)
  • Member Engagement – shout out to the American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • Broadcast
  • Marketing
  • Fundraising (and I didn’t even get into the story of the tweet that led to a $40,000 sponsorship from when I worked at the Children’s Hospitals Association)

Aside from the whole nostalgia aspect, though, reviewing these mostly made me feel sad.

Fifteen years ago, many of us saw so much potential in Twitter and other social media platforms to connect with our members and other audiences in a real and authentic way, to be able to provide the latest news in a quick and easily consumable way, to have a little fun and bring a little lightness to our organizational personalities, to provide a place for our members and other audiences to build relationships with each other.

And for a while, that happened, at least in a limited way for some associations.


Due to a variety of factors I’m not going to go into now but of which we’re all aware, the platforms have become cesspools of hate speech, harassment, propaganda, and, increasingly, AI-facilitated outright lies that are very convincing. They’ve had a pernicious influence on the mental health most notably of teenagers and young adults, but very likely on all of us. They’ve contributed to strained interpersonal relationships for many (raise your hand if you’ve been deeply dismayed by posts of a friend or relative of a different political persuasion). They’ve become corporatized and monopolized. They’re often little more than fronts for stealing and selling data about their users, data we gullibly provide on the false promise of “creating connection.” Even in their most innocuous guise, LinkedIn, there’s too much “LOOK AT ME!” shouting and too little genuine insight.

A lot of association execs have put a lot of time and effort into creating a presence on one or more of these platforms, personally, professionally, organizationally, or all of the above, which makes it hard to walk away. But – and as someone who was an early cheerleader, it pains me to say this – I’m increasingly doubtful that the juice is worth the squeeze (as they say) any longer.

What is YOUR association doing with regards to social media platforms in 2024? Are you still on them? Which one(s)? How much effort are you devoting? What outcomes are you seeking there? Are you achieving those outcomes? Are there platforms you’ve actively left? Or just allowed to go dormant? What’s been the response of your members and other audiences? What are you finding to be effective methods of connecting with members and other audiences today? 





Membership Q&A: Online Communities?

Group of people sitting next to each other on a stone wall

No, I’m not going to get into which white-label platform you should use – for that, we have ReviewMyCommunity.

Take one step back: white-label or public?

That is, the publicly-available, commercial platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, and their ilk).

This is a tough one.

The advantage – and it’s a BIG one – of using a public platform is that your members are already there. They already know how to access the site. They already have an account. They already know how to use the site. They already log in on a regular basis.

That’s significant.

Your members are experiencing platform fatigue. They don’t want to create another account whose password they’re going to forget. They don’t want to have to learn another interface. They don’t want to have to remember to check another website. They’re overloaded with information and looking to simplify.

On the other hand, if it’s free, you’re the product.

You don’t pay for that platform which means, as many of us have discovered to our great sorrow over the years, they can change the rules at any time, in any way, with any – or no – warning.

When Facebook first started breaking out from being just a place where college kids and young adults went to “poke” each other and play FarmVille, associations went big on the platform, investing time and resources in developing our organizational pages, and getting good results – fans, likes, driving traffic back to our main websites.

But Facebook couldn’t profit off that exposure, so they changed the rules to decrease organizations’ visibility in our audiences’ timelines. Unless you pay.

Thus began a war of attrition between Facebook and organizations trying to use Facebook for audience outreach, where we start enjoying success that isn’t filling Facebook’s coffers, so they change the rules, so our “reach” drops off, so we either pay the protection money or figure out a way around the new rule changes until Facebook catches up with us and changes the rules AGAIN.

LinkedIn, being the business platform, cut straight to the chase, and for all intents and purposes, killed Groups in 2017. I mean, they still exist, but they’re buried and a lot of the functionality has been stripped. LinkedIn’s energy seems to be going towards having your feed be the locus of interaction (like Facebook), but somehow I don’t think this blog post (which will auto-post to my LI feed) is going to be nearly as compelling as latest viral cat video or meme on Facebook.

You don’t own the data from that platform – they do. Can you download contact information for members of your LinkedIn Group? Nope. You appear to be able to, for Facebook, at least right now and for some types of groups. But that may change in the 15 minutes from when I type this until I hit “publish” on this post. And you don’t own any data, information, insights, etc. that are shared in your groups on either platform.

Additionally, although your members may be on a particular platform, they may not want to be WITH YOUR ASSOCIATION on that platform. You have a better shot here with LinkedIn, of course, but it’s pretty common for people to use the other platforms solely for personal reasons, which means they may not want to connect with you at all, or even if they do, they may not want to interact with your content there.

So why is this even a question? Just get Higher Logic or Breezio or whatever and be done with it.

That’s not that simple, either. Aside from cost issues, there’s a flywheel effect. Getting an online community started from scratch is really hard. In order for people to want to come, there has to be some “there” there, but there won’t be useful content without active contributors.

Chicken and egg? Yep.

I will say, all of the community platform vendors that have been successful in the association space are well aware of this problem, and offer all sorts of resources and guides and tips and assistance to their clients in getting the machine going.

But you still have to assess things like:

Overall size of your audience. Online communities are subject to the 90-9-1 rule. That is, 90% are going to lurk nearly exclusively. Nine percent will contribute occasionally. One percent will be truly active.

Math problem (don’t worry – it’s easy): What’s the overall size of your audience?

If you have 100,000 community members, you’re in good shape – that’s a lot of lurkers, but it’s also 1,000 active contributors and 9,000 occasional contributors, which is PLENTY to generate robust conversation.

Now if your total audience is 1000 – or 500 – or 100 – your white-label online community may NEVER take off. Too few contributors. It’s just math.

Their comfort level with technology, and the user interface and experience of the technology undergirding the platform you choose. All the respected platforms support Single Sign-On (SSO) at this point, but are your members even comfortable with logging into your website in the first place? Are they going to be willing and able to put in the time to learn what your community platform can do? Are they going to be savvy enough not to kill conversation with a constant flood of “me, too” posts? Will the platform allow them to interact in the way(s) they want, which at a minimum should include: website that is responsive design (so it works equally well on a computer, tablet, or smartphone), email, and app?

Their work environments and patterns. Are they people who are online for their jobs or at their jobs? Is that where they go to get advice, or do they turn to the person next to them? Do they like typing responses back and forth on an open platform, or are they more comfortable on the phone – or texting – with individuals or a small, select group?

There’s no one right answer for every association or for every industry or profession. For some, a private community is going to be worth the investment of association resources (not just buying the technology, but also staff time and attention to nurture your new community) and the learning curve for the members.

For some, the drawbacks of Facebook or LinkedIn will be far outweighed by the convenience, ease, and cost (or lack thereof) of these platforms.

Some groups may not benefit from an online community, no matter what the platform – they may be more suited to facilitating one-on-one or small group relationships.

Remember, associations are about community, about groups of people coming together to accomplish things they couldn’t do at all – or at least not as well or easily – on their own. What best helps your particular people achieve that goal?

Know yourself, know your industry or profession, know your members – and don’t be distracted by the new, shiny, hot thing everyone’s fangirling over this week.

Edited to add: The September/October 2019 issue of CalSAE’s The Executive magazine includes an excellent article on just this topic! Check it out!

Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash




Influence Across America

Thanks to the generosity of my friend and colleague Ed Barks, I had the opportunity to attend Influence Across America: The Rise of State and Local Power and the Impact of Digital Media, a National Digital Roundtable panel event at the Newseum earlier this week.

Panelists shared some interesting and disturbing statistics, as well as good advice for breaking through the noise and getting local and national media attention for your organization’s signal.

First the stats (all from Pew):

  • 2019 will be the first year digital ad spending outpaces ad spending in traditional media.
  • Facebook and YouTube are still the top social platforms overall, but among 18-24 year olds, it’s Snapchat and Instagram.
  • Facebook and Google VASTLY dominate digital ad spending. Nothing else is even close.
  • Lots of people of all ages get their news partially or mostly online, but the demographic generation with the biggest growth is Boomers.
  • 71% of people think their local newspaper is doing fine financially. Only 14% of people pay for local news. (You would think that would cause at least some of them some cognitive dissonance, but apparently not. People: NEWS IS NOT FREE.)

Where do people prefer to get their news?

  • 41% – TV
  • 37% – online
  • 13% – newspaper
  • 8% – radio

(It’s official – my NPR-listening, print Washington Post-subscribing self is a big weirdo.)

Now for the advice:

The Kellogg Foundation produces an event called the National Day of Racial Healing, which takes place in January each year, in conjunction with the Martin Luther King holiday. They saw the highest social/online engagement from cities where they also had the most in-person events. Lesson? In-person events and social/digital campaigns reinforce each other. They were also to recruit a big-name influencer – Ava DuVernay – to support and amplify the campaign, because this is part of the work she does on a daily basis. Lesson? You can attract celebrity help if you choose wisely.

Zero To Three (a Spark client!) used the See-Say-Do model to organize their efforts and set goals.

  • See = impressions, reach, awareness
  • Say = engagement, likes, shares, influencer attention
  • Do = call to action (for them, it was to join their public policy alert network)

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation also had success attracting a big-name influencer for their Hidden Heroes campaign, which highlights and supports the work of caregivers for wounded veterans – Tom Hanks. Again, the lesson is to look for alignment between a celebrity’s interests and work and your cause. The Dole Foundation also has a real advisory group that fully sets the agenda for their work, which has led to a focus on working with cities (130 so far) to find local resources, support, and recognition for caregivers.

The advisory group also led the Foundation to take a more “playful” tone on their social media platforms and to be genuinely interactive, as opposed to just shouting marketing messages at their audiences (something many associations are still guilty of). They also focus on telling the stories of caregivers, and provide camera-ready resources for their ambassadors – literally, because they’re realized that Instagram is the right focus platform for their audience, which is largely mid-20s through mid-50s women.

The panel featured:

  • Angela Greiling Keane, Deputy Managing Editor – States, POLITICO & Former President, National Press Club
  • Ernestine Benedict, Chief Communications Officer, ZERO TO THREE (State of Babies)
  • Madison Moore, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Elizabeth Dole Foundation (Hidden Heroes)
  • Howard M. Walters, Program and Evaluation Officer, W. K. Kellogg Foundation (National Day of Racial Healing)
  • Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey, Senior Advisor and National LGBT Liaison, Community, State & National Affairs, Multicultural Leadership, AARP
  • Anthony Shop, Co-Founder, Social Driver & Chairman, National Digital Roundtable (moderator)
  • Barbara McCormack, Vice President of Education, Freedom Forum Institute (host)


Review: When Millennials Take Over

“Every 20 years or so, a new generation enters the workforce, and the rest of us, quite frankly, freak out about it.” 

Cover Image - When Millennials Take OverI recently had the opportunity to read a review copy of When Millennials Take Over, a new book by Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant designed to help us get past the freak out and to a “ridiculously optimistic” view of the future of work.

Their basic thesis is that the environment in which our organizations operate has changed – we have to move faster, with less hierarchy and more sharing of information, and learn how to be digital native institutions.

Sounds hard, right?

Fortunately, the Millennials, the generation born between 1982 and 2004, can help us. Although GenX is currently the largest segment of the workforce, within the next three years, the Millennials will be taking over. And that’s a good thing. As Notter put it during a recent book release event sponsored by ASAE: “The goal is not to ‘deal with’ Millennials but to learn from them. It’s not that Millennials are extra special or have all the answers, but they’re a ‘secret decoder ring’ to help us understand and adapt to these changes.”

Notter and Grant have identified four key capacities that they believe will drive the future of business:

  • Digital
  • Clear
  • Fluid
  • Fast

Digital expects widespread customization and personalization, which includes staff as well as customers and members, and continuous improvement. Going digital is not just about how much you spend on technology (although most of us ARE underinvesting); it’s also about developing a digital mindset, in which you design around the needs and convenience of your audiences (both internal and external), even if that makes things harder for the organization.

tl;dr: In the era of Amazon and apps, your old excuses for 20 years outdated tech and processes won’t fly.

Clear demands information at everyone’s fingertips. Millennials have always had the “why” explained to them – that’s how they were raised. The great thing about this is, when our organizations share more information in a more transparent way, we dramatically increase both the speed and the quality of the decisions we make.

Fluid requires us to break out of our silos, not to the point that there’s no hierarchy at all (Google tried that and found it didn’t work), but to the point that teams are flexible and ad hoc, and different people get opportunities to lead based on their skills match with the project and task at hand. That means that EVERY person needs to know what your organization’s key performance indicators, that is, the keys to success, are.

Fast is the end result of all of these. As Notter and Grant point out, not everything needs to be ultra-fast all the time – there is still room for institutional knowledge and deliberation – but speed is important. As Grant observed at that same book release event, think about how quickly you dump a smartphone or tablet app that doesn’t work as expected. We need to move faster on idea generation, creating rudimentary prototypes, gathering information, and improving/scaling, pivoting, or killing those ideas as appropriate.

tl;dr: Don’t do another member survey! And don’t make decisions about what to do based on the HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion). Create a Minimum Viable Product, and decide what happens after that based on actual data about whether people buy and use it, and what they think about it.

The book makes an excellent companion to Notter and Grant’s earlier Humanize. But where Humanize was a bit heavier on theory, When Millennials Take Over focuses heavily on the practical, sharing detailed case studies of four organizations who exemplify the authors’ four key capacities:

The American Society for Surgery of the Hand, a small membership organization that still manages to invest well in technology, personalize and customize, learn from experiments, and incorporate results-only work environment principles.

Menlo Innovations, a software firm that is so transparent about information that they’ve invented their own resolutely low-tech project management system so that every person knows exactly what every other person’s top priorities are and where they stand on achieving those goals. This lets teams that are ahead of schedule know immediately who needs help and offer it without the intervention of boring project status meetings or project managers or complicated negotiations over email. Menlo even invites clients into the office on a weekly basis so they can see first-hand what’s going on with their projects and make more effective decisions about their own budgets and priorities.

Quality Living, a rehab center for people recovering from brain and spinal cord injuries, that understands the importance of shifting decision-making authority and action to the individuals and groups who are best equipped to be successful in a particular situation, no matter what their official place in the organization’s hierarchy. That might mean that someone very “low level,” who is closest to the patient and her needs, values, hopes, and dreams, directs care for that patient across the entire team of more “senior” people.

Happy State Bank, a community bank operating in Texas, that is able to make good decisions almost absurdly fast thanks to their laser focus on caring and relationships (not exactly traditional for financial institutions). As Notter is fond of pointing out, trust enables speed, and that’s exactly the environment Happy State has created, not just among staff but between staff and customers.

Ultimately, this is about all of us – Boomers, Xers, and Millennials – working together for the good of ourselves, our organizations, and our customers/members. We take turns leading the change:

For every Luke Skywalker (Millennial), there is always a need for an Obi-Wan Kenobi (Baby Boomer), and even an occasional cynical and independent Han Solo (Generation Xer). We know it is cliché, but we’re all in this together.

When Millennials Take Over is available in Kindle and print editions at For a limited time, the Kindle edition is only $0.99 (that is not a typo), or you can download a chapter as a preview for FREE.


Matching Your Channel to Your Audience

One of the most important principles in creating successful multi-channel communications is to match your channel to your audience and your purpose.

  • Are you sharing information about something that’s open to the public? Use public channels like Facebook, Twitter, and unprotected areas of your website.
  • Are you sharing information about something that’s for your members only? Use member-only channels like your member enewsletter and member-only areas of your website.
  • Are you sharing information about something that’s available only to a sub-set of people? Use email or direct mail to target them precisely.

Remember, of course, that you always want to have a call to action, but it’s really important that the audience you’re talking to be able to answer your call.

(You might think: “This is totally obvious! Why are you posting this, Elizabeth?” You would not believe how many times I see associations posting links to login restricted information and resources on open social media channels.)

What Makes Community?

Back in the mid-1990s (so, in Internet time, 500 years ago), I was a member of a thriving online community on the Runner’s World website. We shared training regimens, asked each other questions, told race stories, got injury and gear advice, told stupid jokes, gave each other a lot of shit, got into arguments and then made up, and generally had a ball.

“Wait!” you say. “That was, like, 10 years before Facebook or LinkedIn or MySpace or Friendster or any of that stuff. Were you using carrier pigeons to communicate? How did that work?”

The technology was neither intuitive nor sophisticated. I remember how excited we all got when the discussions started being threaded instead of appearing in a Hunter Thompson-esque stream-of-consciousness. There were no community managers, no training videos. No one created a community strategy or marketing and communications plan. It shouldn’t have worked.

But it did.

Why? What makes community?

This question came up a few weeks ago during #assnchat. Many associations have launched private communities of one sort of another at this point, or are at least considering it.

Unsurprisingly, “results vary.”

The question is why.

It’s not like there’s some BIG secret around how to make online communities work.

  • You need organizational buy-in at all levels, but particularly among executives and volunteer leaders.
  • You need dedicated community manager(s) to shepherd process and nurture the community.
  • You need community champions from among your audiences to keep the conversation going.
  • You need a platform that works (from a tech perspective) and is relatively intuitive to use.
  • You need to educate your audiences (ALL your audiences) in how to use that platform, and do it in bite-sized chunks and in a variety of formats.
  • You need to give people a reason to show up and participate, and to keep coming back.
  • You need to remember the 90-9-1 rule and learn to love your lurkers.
  • You need to communicate what’s going on in the community with your audiences on an ongoing basis.

But even with all that, your community can still fall flat.


Passion, or to be more precise, lack thereof.

People have to care, about each other, about the topics being discussed, about sharing knowledge, about learning from each other, about projects they’re working on together.

Or, as Jamie Notter would say: “It’s all about love.”

If you have it, there’s a good chance your online community will make it, even in the absence of a manager or a strategy or a communications plan or even adequate technology. Without it, you could have the best strategy and marketing and staffing and platform and support in the world, and it will probably flop anyway.

What is your association doing to discover and support your audiences’ passion?

Who Cares?

The Google+ “+1” button. The Facebook “like” button. “Tweet this.” These are all increasingly common forms of automated sharing. The problem, of course, is that attention STILL doesn’t scale, and, as pointed out in a recent issue of MIT’s Technology Review, neither does caring.

I quote:

Facebook’s impending problem is that even if the company enables future pacemakers to share our every heartbeat, the company cannot automate caring—the most important part of the feedback loop that has driven the social Web’s ascent. Nothing can support exponential growth for long. No matter how cleverly our friends’ social output is summarized and highlighted for us, there are only so many hours in the day for us to express that we care. Today, the law of social sharing is a useful way to think about the rise of social computing, but eventually, reality will make it obsolete.

And I’ve definitely seen this personally, too.

“Oh you have to get on…Tumblr/Google+/Pinterest/Path/Storify/…It’s great!”

“Why didn’t you call when I was sick? I posted it on FB!”

I don’t have an answer, but I think it’s important to at least start asking the question. With proliferating outlets and ways to connect, how do we ensure we aren’t so busy spewing information into the stream that we’re unable to take time to make true human connection?

Book Review: Humanize

If you’re one of my regular readers – or someone who knows me IRL – you probably know of my disdain for business books. Generally, they state the obvious or the *painfully* obvious at a fifth-grade reading level, with LARGE print on pages with LOTS of white space. I firmly believe that, with very few exceptions, reading them actually makes you dumber.

So I don’t say this lightly: Humanize is genius.

Authors Maddie Grant and Jamie Notter use the lens of social media to examine our “modern” business, management, and leadership practices and find them au courant…with the Industrial Revolution. At that time, perhaps a mechanical view of the world made sense, or at least more sense than it does now. But social media has spurred a revolution in the way people relate to each other on the individual, micro, and macro levels. The genie’s loose, and he’s not going back.

And while we shouldn’t – and in many cases don’t – even want to go back, our organizations are not keeping pace. Our focus on best practices (imitation) over innovation, a strategic planning process that assumes that the future is knowable and unchanging, human resources management that relies on hierarchy, org charts and knowing (and keeping to) your place, and leadership that’s viewed as some sort of “secret sauce” that individuals either have (so they get to be at the top of the org chart) or don’t (so they’re one of of the proles) keeps us stuck in those old systems and patterns that are killing us.

Maddie and Jamie go on to identify four key qualities that can help our organizations be more human (or, more accurately, stop trying to force organizations made up of people into an assembly line mentality): being open, trustworthy, generative, and courageous. In the meat of the book, they examine how these four qualities, expressed through the mediums of organizational culture, internal process/structure, and individual behavior, have the power to create organizations that, to quote p. 247, “inspire us and bring out the best in us.”

If business people read, accept and implement the ideas contained in Humanize around these qualities and how they can be fostered at the personal, process, and organizational level (hardly a given of course), I believe this book has the power to RADICALLY transform our organizations and, just possibly, save the world of associations in the process.


Ninja Tips for Engaging Your Audiences

Layla, Lynn, and Elizabeth’s ninja tips for engaging your audiences:


  • Don’t auto-post everything to everywhere, but do learn how to selectively auto-post in your chosen platforms.
  • Check out the administrative interface of every platform you use – you’d be surprised at how much information is available on things like which links got clicked, who likes you, what they’re doing, etc.
  • Use URL shorteners and your regular web analytics tool to track how effective your posts are. (Are people clicking on what you want them to click on?)
  • When people contact you (@ replies, direct messages, posts to your FB page’s wall), respond.
  • Don’t forget about direct mail, which is still the most effective way to reach people, and email, which is still the most effective online way to reach people.
  • Figure out ways to reward your most ardent supporters, and make sure they’re ways that are meaningful to them.
  • Don’t ask LESS of social media in regards to ROI than your other communications channels…but don’t ask MORE, either.
  • Make sure more than one person in your organization knows something about your chosen tools – you don’t want everything to come to a screeching halt if s/he chooses to leave.
  • Dial back your efforts on the platforms that aren’t helping you meet you goals, so you can dial up your efforts on those that are.
  • Regularly revisit your goals to ensure your tools and efforts are still meeting your needs.
  • Follow thought leaders to keep up on the newest tools and new features your existing tools may have added.
  • Promote your top social media outlets in your e-mail signatures and business cards to drive visits and use.
  • Tag your items using searchable keywords and include those in descriptions whenever possible. That’s how people will find your stuff online.


  • Understand Twitter’s #hashtag power – they spread your words far beyond your followers – and use a tool to track how far your tweets spread.
  • Use general hashtags (#nonprofit, #marketing) to help your tweets get more exposure.
  • BUT don’t use more than 2-3 hashtags per tweet.
  • Use a real picture of yourself for a personal account and a logo for a branded account.
  • If it’s taken you a while to respond, RT the original tweet in your response. It will help give the person you are responding to context.
  • Check the trending topics every time you log into to Twitter to see if there are any ties you can make to the association’s content.
  • Thank those from your target market (i.e. potential or current members) for following you.
  • Create a general hashtag for the profession or trade and use it religiously when you have any content that relates to the profession. Avoid weird spellings or shortenings if possible to make it easier for them to appear in Twitter searches.
  • Identify in the Twitter bio which employee(s) monitor the Twitter account to give others a sense of who they are talking with.
  • Don’t forget to brand your Twitter background. Use it as an opportunity to inform other Twitter users about your other channels or as a place to promote upcoming events.


Big Questions for Associations – Part 2

Part two in the series inspired by Jeff De Cagna’s March breakfast briefing on associations and mobile technology.  (Read part 1 here.)

Question 2: How will we balance the need for greater intimacy with privacy concerns?

Oh boy, is this one HUGE for healthcare associations – actually, for healthcare in general.  You think you have privacy concerns? Under the rules of HIPAA, if any Protected Health Information is inappropriately shared (even if it was inadvertent), each instance can carry fines of up to $250,000 and/or 10 years’ imprisonment.  YIKES!

And yet healthcare organizations are managing to be active (quite active) in social media spaces, sharing their most compelling and inspiring content – patient stories.  How are they pulling this off?

NACHRI member (of course!) Children’s Hospital Los Angeles provides a great example.  As reported by the Care Networks blog, CHLA uses a 3 step process:

  1. Review their policy on how your story may be used
  2. Review their HIPAA compliance policy
  3. Submit your story through their simple online form (which is then reviewed by staff before being used)

Why does this work so well?  CHLA is completely up front about how they will – and won’t – use patients’ information, they get a positive affirmation from those patients that the patients are OK with playing by CHLA’s rules, and then they let the patients speak in their own voices.  The result?  Transparent, authentic awesomesauce.

How does your organization go about demonstrating that you REALLY know your audiences without being that creepy marketer who seems to be stalking people?